Pressing data centre challenges necessitate immediate actions

Ensuring viable green energy technologies and alleviating risks from fluctuating power and unplanned downtime remain vital priorities for data centre professionals building hyperscale and edge data centres, according to new insights from temporary utilities specialist Aggreko.

Detailed in a series of reports – The Inside View – industry professionals explain the challenges they face in the management and maintenance of data centres, following a number of in-depth interviews. Aggreko’s two reports look in detail at concerns around power provision and risk management in the booming hyperscale and edge data centre markets from those who run the day-to-day operations of the facilities.

To form the reports, Aggreko interviewed 10 key industry professionals, including energy managers, facilities managers, managing directors, consultants and those involved in the day-to-day operations of a hyperscale facility.

The reports identify issues around facilities not always having the right provision for consistent power in the wake of growing national grid strain, and implementing maintenance strategies that pre-empt disruptive events rather than in response post-incident. It also highlights issues around sustainable energy sources when building due the construction phase of both edge and hyperscale data centres, including the practicality of implementing green technologies cost-effectively and at scale.

“Data centre construction continues to boom throughout Europe, but with more demand comes more questions about what issues may arise as additional facilities are built,” says Billy Durie, Global Sector Head for Data Centres for Aggreko. “In such an in-demand market, it is crucial that key stakeholders working within it are aware of ongoing and upcoming trends, and nowhere is this more apparent than in utilities provision.

“Put simply, if there is no contingency plan in place for power provision or appropriate maintenance strategies, data centre uptime can be threatened. Yet alongside this, sustainability poses a similarly existential issue, especially with the regulatory landscape expected to tighten further in the coming years. In such a challenging situation, the sector needs to have suppliers that can provide agile and effective equipment solutions.”

Alongside power and equipment upkeep concerns, The Inside View reports examines issues professionals working on hyperscale and edge facilities face scaling up existing data centres to meet skyrocketing demand. Issues raised include ageing infrastructure and how it can cope powering modern IT equipment, and how to expand existing facilities quickly and effectively.

“Our research has clearly shown that the data centre market is continuing to struggle with ever-increasing latency requirements, balancing inefficient existing plant against rapidly advancing data-intensive technologies. As well as this existing, insufficient energy infrastructure and unclear regulations can result in situations where stakeholders are not willing to upgrade existing equipment to meeting pressing challenges. However, as these new reports demonstrate, if the sector is to meet decarbonisation demands while meeting growing service levels, innovative strategies must be explored around the provision of key site utilities.”

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